Cohesion policy and funds

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The cohesion policy is the EU's main instrument for achieving the Europe 2020 objectives.

Funds for the cohesion policy are distributed from three structural funds: the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund.

These funds support

  • cutting-edge research
  • high-speed internet access
  • smart transport and energy infrastructure
  • energy efficiency and renewable energies
  • business development
  • skills and training

Together, the funds represent approximately EUR 367 billion, which is more than one-third of the total EU budget.

The EU Commission is working with authorities in the EU countries and regions to ensure that the funding is invested optimally. The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth is one of them.

European Regional Development Fund

The cohesion policy is mainly implemented in Sweden through the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund.

The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth has a government mandate to manage and distribute funding from the European Regional Development Fund in such a way as to support projects that promote growth and jobs.

For the 2014-2020 programming period, the Agency will distribute about SEK 8.5 billion from the ERDF to eight regional structural fund programmes and one national regional fund programme.

With a corresponding amount coming from Swedish co-financing, this means that a total of about SEK 17 billion will be invested in the country during a period of seven years.

Partnership agreement – coordinating and simplifying

There is a common strategic framework for the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, collectively referred to as the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds).

Part of the framework involves a partnership agreement signed between the European Commission and each member state. 

The aim of the partnership agreement is to increase the coordination of the four funds and for this to be implemented as efficiently as possible.

The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, the Swedish ESF Council and the Swedish Board of Agriculture are the authorities responsible for ESI funds in Sweden. The government has instructed them to intensify their cooperation in cross-fund issues, mainly in order to make the process of applying for EU funds easier for project owners.

The partnership agreement also describes how the member state is to use the thematic objectives at national and regional level.

The funds must also contribute to local development

In the partnership agreement, the Government also proposes that the ESI Funds should be available for work at local level in the context of community-led local development.

Community-led local development provides an opportunity for involvement and development in districts. Local partnership between public, private and non-profit organisations means that they can jointly apply to form a local development area.

Read the brochure Develop Sweden

Read a summary of the 27 programs of the European Structural and Investment Funds, involving Sweden, and in what programs Swedish organizations, authorities and companies can participate.

The brochure Develop Sweden Pdf, 2.9 MB, opens in new window.